In business, there’s nothing quite as valuable as finding a good contact and holding on to it. At least that’s what Ottawa-based company GoodContacts Inc. is betting on.
GoodContacts was born during the capital’s telecom heyday when the founders realized that managing contact lists was a widespread problem, said co-founder and chief operating officer Dave Caughey.
“With information and technology being such rapidly changing landscapes, we noticed that a lot of our contact information ended up going bad. This can be a huge problem for the enterprise,” he explained.
The GoodContacts application is designed to ensure that contact databases contain the most up-to-date and comprehensive information available. GoodContacts Enterprise is a peer-to-peer software solution that is able to interface with a number of contact-management and CRM solutions.
According to Caughey, the application helps users send “keep-in-touch” e-mails to contacts within their database. The program inserts a business card with each contact’s known information into an e-mail template that can be customized, so that when the contacts receive the e-mail, they can either confirm or change the information and return it to the sender. Once received, the application detects, authenticates and processes the e-mail responses into the database as they arrive in the user’s inbox.
“It’s estimated that 20 to 30 per cent of all CRM data is bad, and this is how we’ve been fitting into the enterprise,” Caughey said.
The application is set to send out queries to contacts no more frequently than three times a year, but this is customizable by users.
“It allows you to select individuals, contact lists, mailing lists or in one big blast – it’s very flexible,” Caughey said.
John Lusink, branch manager at Royal LePage Real Estate Services Ltd. in Toronto, said the biggest surprise with GoodContacts was how quickly the ROI was realized. The day the software was installed Lusink tested it on a group of contacts and found that 90 per cent of them responded within a couple of days.
“Customers and clients want to be in touch. I guess this shouldn’t be a surprise, but it was,” he said.
Once his agents started using the application they saw similar results.
“Within a couple of hours they saw responses and within a few days this led to business. It’s very rare to see such immediate payback. That was all the validation I needed for the cost of the licences,” Lusink said.
Currently, GoodContacts is being used by 2,500 organizations worldwide, with most customers residing in the U.S. According to Caughey, the application would be a good fit into most companies. Current customers include law firms, executive search firms, real estate organizations and organizations focused on sales.
GoodContacts Enterprise is based on a proprietary, e-mail-based peer-to-peer architecture and offers support for Microsoft Outlook/Outlook Express, ACT!, Microsoft Access and other ODBC-compliant databases including MS SQL Server. It also supports SalesLogiz, SalesForce.com, Microsoft CRM and InterAction.